March 22
After floating on the stock market just five months ago UK camera retailer Jessops has announced that its shares fell 30% yesterday due to a decline in digital camera sales. Trading has slowed considerably in February and March and shares fell 47.5p to 107p. The shares cost 155p when they were first issued. The competition on the high street and the internet is fierce and Jessops has had to slash the prices of digital cameras to entice sales and compete with other retailers. Despite the drop in sales in the last two months, Jessops says that overall sales were up by 1% in the first half.
Lensbaby 2.0
Are you bored of your lenses? Do you want to get a bit creative? Then check out what the stork delivered from Lensbaby 2.0, an attachment for digital SLRs, offers a greater aperture range than The Original Lensbaby and a much sharper 'sweet spot' of focus, the size of which can be controlled by changing the apertures. Lensbaby 2.0 also features a coated, high refractive index, low dispersion optical glass doublet instead of the singled uncoated optical glass element in The Original Lensbaby. Apertures snap into place using the magnetic aperture system and can be lifted out with the complimentary Cell-Klear Lenspen. Suggested retail price is around $150.
March 18
Panasonic SD CardBus adapter tested
We've just received a production sample of the recently announced Panasonic SD CardBus PC Card adapter (BN-SDPC3E). This works in the same manner as the 32-bit CardBus CF adapters we've seen in the past. With more and more devices using SD cards and now even some digital SLR's faster access to SD cards will become more important. If you use a laptop or notebook the Panasonic SD CardBus adapter is now the fastest method for reading (and writing to) SD cards. (Windows only at the moment).
Konica Minolta cuts financial year forecast
Konica Minolta lowered its forecast for the financial year ending March 2005 due to strong price competition in the digital camera market and delays in introducing new products in its information equipment business. Konica Minolta, which announced its merger in January 2003, foresees a 72% drop in net income from ¥25 bn ($240 m) to ¥7 bn ($67 m) on net sales of ¥1.06 trillion ($10.1 bn), down 3.6% from the previously forecast ¥1.1tr ($10.5 bn). The camera manufacturer will also accept an extraordinary write-off of ¥5.4 bn ($51.2 m). Konica Minolta stocks are currently trading below their issuing price, with total stock capital ¥30 bn ($287.5 m) below full value.
March 17
Nikon D2Hs launch date and price
Nikon has announced that its 4.1 megapixel professional D-SLR, the D2Hs, will be on sale worldwide from March 25. It will retail for around £2,499.99 ($3,733). The D2Hs, which was announced just before PMA, offers a range of improvements over the D2H, including a burst rate of 8 fps up to 50 JPEG frames or 40 NEF shots. It has also borrowed some features from the D2X, including sYCC color space support, 3D Matrix Metering II and a higher resolution 2.5-inch LCD.
March 16
More on Kodak's 18.6 megapixel CCD
Kodak has today issued a press release which reveals a little more information about the sensor used in Pentax's yet to be fully revealed 645 medium-format digital camera. The sensor is named the KAF-18000CE, it has 18.6 million total pixels producing an 18 million pixel final image. Pixel pitch is 9 x 9 µm, no other specs are currently available but if we assume a 4:3 aspect ratio we can guess the total pixel size to be something like 4992 x 3744 which would make the active sensor area approximately 45 x 34 mm (a 1.3x FOV crop for a 645 medium format camera).
Just posted! Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro review
Just posted! Our full in-depth review of Fujifilm's latest digital SLR, the FinePix S3 Pro. The S3 Pro is unique among digital SLRs in that it has a sensor designed specifically to capture more dynamic range. The SuperCCD SR II has two photodiodes at each photosite, the 'S-pixel' captures normal dynamic range, the 'R-pixel' is smaller, has a lower sensitivity and hence can capture additional highlight detail. Read our review to see how the S3 Pro performed and how it compares to the competition.
Nikon Coolpix S1, ultra-slim
Nikon has today announced its first ultra-slim digital camera, the Coolpix S1. The S1 has a five megapixel CCD, a three times folded-optics zoom lens (a first in a Coolpix) and a 2.5" LCD monitor (another Coolpix first). The S1 also features some Coolpix technology such as Face Priority AF, in-camera red-eye fix and D-Lighting. The (admittedly pretty stylish) Coolpix S1 will be available in three colors; black, silver and white, it will be out in April at about US$ 380. Additionaly there will also be a waterproof case available.
March 15
Pentax 645 Digital, 18.6 megapixel

Pentax has today announced the development of an 18.6 megapixel 645 Digital medium-format camera which will be revealed at the Photo Imaging Expo in Tokyo from March 17th 2005. Details are thin on the ground at the moment but the current press release reveals that the camera will use a large format Kodak CCD with 18.6 million total pixels.

Pentax DA 12-24 mm F4 lens

Pentax has today announced a new 'digital only' DA-series lens, the 12-24 mm F4 ED AL, this is the sixth Pentax DA lens. Mounted on the *ist D or *ist DS digital SLRs this lens would provide an equivalent field of view of as a 18-36 mm lens.

March 10
Konica Minolta announces digital lenses
CeBit 2005: Konica Minolta has announced three digital lenses designed specifically for use with digital cameras that use an APS-C size sensor such as its Maxxum series of digital SLRs, the first of which is the Maxxum 7D. All three Digital Technology (DT) lenses are wideangle optics and will be available in the summer/fall. The first is the AF DT Zoom 18-70mm f3.5 - 5.6(D) (which on the 7D would provide an equivalent field of view as a 27 - 105 mm lens), secondly there's the AF DT Zoom 11-18mm f4.5 - 5.6(D) (16.5 - 27 mm equiv) and lastly the AF DT Zoom 18-200mm f3.5 -6.3(D) (27 - 300 mm equiv).
March 9
Samsung launches first 7 megapixel phone
CeBIT 2005: While it took the photographic industry several years before it produced the first 7 megapixel compact digital camera, the mobile phone industry is wasting no such time. Samsung has today announced a world first with the 7 million pixel SCH-V770 which, it has been reported, boasts manual focus, shutter priority, AE lock and an optical zoom as well as MP3 functionality and a business card reader. The SCH-V770, which can also take telephoto and wideangle converter lenses, is due to make its debut at CeBIT, Germany tomorrow.
March 8
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7, ultra-slim
Sony has today announced the ultra-slim Cyber-shot DSC-T7. This camera is the latest in the T line of ultra-compact digital cameras, the unique feature of this amazing little digital camera is that it is only 14.8 mm / 0.6 in 'thin' (9.8 mm / 0.4 in at the thinnest part). It feels about half the thickness of the recently announced DSC-T33 and is approximately the same size from the front. Sony has achieved this by placing the LCD monitor to the side of the lens assembly (yes, this camera still has a three times optical zoom folded lens). Unlike the recent T models the DSC-T7 has has sliding cover / power switch just like the original DSC-T1. We have some exclusive hands-on images of a darker colored DSC-T7.
Nikon Capture software update v4.2.1
Nikon has today posted another update for Nikon Capture, which adds support for the newly-announced Nikon D2Hs plus a host of other new features. Version 4.2.1 supports RAW images captured with the D2Hs and opens them faster. The shooting data area can now display extra information if required. Automatic rotation is now achievable when using the Draw Level line or manually typing a degree of rotation. For a full list of changes, see the release notes.
Sony launches MiniDisc with built-in camera
Sony's latest MiniDisc incarnation has a 1.3 megapixel built-in digital camera with a 1.5-inch color screen and MP3 playback. The MZ-DH10P Hi-MD can capture 1.3MP and VGA-quality images which can be stored on MiniDisc media. Captured shots can be displayed as a slideshow with music, individually or as thumbnails. Camera controls are on the same side as the LCD and the shutter button is on top of the device. The lens cover of the camera controls the mode; when it's open the Walkman is in camera mode, and when it's closed it changes to audio mode. It will be available in May for around $500 and comes supplied with a charging cradle.
Fujifilm posts FinePix S3 Pro firmware v2.12
Fujifilm has today posted firmware version 2.12 for the FinePix S3 Pro and a new plug-in for Hyper Utility Software HS-V2. The new firmware updates the auto rotate function as well as adding support for the AF-S Nikon and AF-VR Nikon lenses and the use of higher capacity storage media. Version 3.1 of the Hyper Utility software enables remote camera operation via FireWire connection between the camera and the computer.
March 3
Kyocera to end camera production
Sources at Kyocera have confirmed that the company is to cease production of film and digital cameras, putting a huge question mark over the future of one of the oldest brands in photography, Contax. Contax cameras have been produced since the early 1930's, when the brand was launched by German optical legend Zeiss Ikon. Contax joined forces with Japanese manufacturer Yashica in the 1960's, becoming part of electronics giant Kyocera in the mid-1990's. UPDATE: Kyocera Japan has officially confirmed that it is to quit production of digital cameras.
February 28
Gizmodo have what appears to be a picture of the (long awaited) USB connector which will enable an iPod (just iPod Photo?) to transfer images directly from a digital camera. Apparently this little connector will cost around $30. The source appears to be an Apple Japan ad for the device with the tagline "iPod, Meet Camera". We don't yet know if it will be USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) or USB 1.1, but in most cases the camera will be USB 1.1. I still think it's a pity Apple didn't provide SD / CF slots in the original iPod Photo (think, killer app), but I guess this is at least a step forward.
Ricoh Caplio R2
Ricoh Japan has today announced the new Caplio R2, almost the same as the recently announced R1V this interesting looking camera has a five megapixel CCD and wide-angle 4.8x zoom (28 - 135 mm equiv.). The R2 does away with the R1V's optical viewfinder and instead has a much larger 2.5" LCD monitor (which is cool these days, apparently) and 28 MB of built-in memory. The R2 will be available in both silver and black. Once more there's no news about distribution, thin on the ground in Europe and nonexistent in the US.
February 27
Konica Minolta 7D review updated
Just before PMA Konica Minolta announced a firmware update for the Maxxum 7D digital SLR. This firmware update was of special interest to us because (a) it appeared not long after we had posted our review and (b) it addresses several performance issues raised in our review. Hence we have now updated our 7D review with results from our 7D with the new firmware. The main highlights are improved USB 2.0 transfer (3.4x faster) and much faster CF throughput (between 3.2x and 6.8x faster).
February 26
Europe becomes largest digital camera market
According to a press release issued by Lyra Research, Europe took the top spot for digital camera shipments from the United States which is now second in terms of shipments. Total shipments in 2004 exceeded 60 million units, up 35% compared to 2003, Lyra forecast that shipments will surpass 100 million units in 2008.
February 25
Pentax *istD firmware v1.12
Pentax has today announced an upgrade to the firmware for the *istD digital SLR which adds one minor change to the previous update. Version 1.12 now allows users to use media cards that are 4GB or higher. The Pentax *istD offers 6.1 megapixels and was the smallest and lightest digital SLR on the market when it was launched in June 2003.
February 24
Just posted! Olympus Stylus Verve review
The Olympus Stylus Verve Digital (also known as the Mju mini) is an affordable compact 2x zoom, four megaxpixel camera with unique styling and a 'weatherproof' exterior that's available in six colors. Find out how it did in our concise review.
iView MediaPro update v2.6.3

iView Multimedia has released a free update to image management program iView MediaPro, which now adds support for Adobe DNG files made with DNG converter v2.4. Version 2.6.3 of the cataloging program also includes improved support for Minolta RAW files, plus preliminary support for Sigma's RAW format and Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Mamiya ZD launch date and pricing
The world's first medium format digital camera and digital back, the Mamiya ZD first previewed at Photokina last year, is expected to start shipping in the summer. The camera is currently being tested in Japan and results show that initial production tests have been successful. No official pricing has been announced but it is expected that the ZD body will be no more than £8,000 (approx $12,600) and the Mamiya ZD Back £7,500 (approx $11,800).
Apacer launches 2GB MultiMedia Card
Apacer has launched the world's highest capacity MultiMedia Card at 2GB. It can store up to 3000 images at 1024 x 768 pixels and supports plug and play. Apacer is also introducing a 1GB MMC. The range is available in capacities starting at 32MB. The 2GB card will be available from next month.
Hitachi 6GB Microdrive sells for just $299
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is offering a 6GB Microdrive for $299. The Microdrive 3K6 can hold up to 6000 one megabyte images and is available in CompactFlash Type II and embedded versions. A 4GB Microdrive 3K6 will be offered at $199. Hitachi is planning to develop a 'baby Microdrive' later this year, named Mikey. The one-inch hard drive will be 20% smaller and have a capacity of 8 - 10GB.
February 23
Apple introduces 30GB iPod Photo and announces pricing
Apple has introduced a new slim 30GB version of the iPod Photo, priced $349, which is now available with the 60GB model, priced $449. Both will both hold up to 25,000 photos and 7500 songs (30GB) / 15,000 (60GB). A new iPod Camera connector for importing images and slideshow playback will be available at the end of March for $29. The iPod Photo is bundled with earbud headphones, a USB 2.0 cable, a USB power adapter and a CD with iTunes 4.7.1 for Mac and Windows computers.
February 22
Leica in financial crisis
German website, Spiegel Online, has reported that Leica is in financial crisis after many banks cut its credit lines following an announcement last week, which said it stood to lose half its operating capital. The company, which introduced the first 35mm still camera in 1924, is also expected to close the financial year with an operating loss of €10 million (approx $13 million). Last year it reported a loss of €1.6 million (approx $2.1 million). Shareholders will hold a meeting on May 31 to discuss the future of the company. Spiegel Online says that Leica has missed the boat where digital photography is concerned and it is also suffering due to the low rate of the US dollar versus the Euro.
Polaroid announces x530 availability
PMA 2005: Eight months after its original shipping date Polaroid has finally announced that the Foveon-sensored x530, which was previewed at PMA last year, is now available in the US. Interested parties in Canada, Japan, Germany and the UK will have to wait until the end of March. The 4.5 million-pixel Polaroid x530 is the first point and shoot camera to house the 1/1.8" X3 Direct Image sensor, which captures light on three layers; red, green and blue. Other features include JPEG and RAW capture, plus a 3x optical zoom. It is expected to retail at $299 (£299).
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S80
PMA 2005: Sony has announced the Cyber-shot S80, which will be sold in Europe along with the S40 and S90. It has the same 4.1 megapixel resolution, 3x optical zoom lens and 2.0-inch LCD as the Cyber-shot S60, which isn't available in Europe. Sony is also marketing these new models as 'stamina' cameras as the user can take around 440 shots from one charge of the supplied rechargable batteries. The S80 will be available in April priced between £180-£200 (approx €215 - €238).
February 21
Tamron AF 18-200 mm F3.5 - F6.3 Di-II
PMA 2005: Tamron's AF 18-200 mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens, designed exclusively for digital cameras with small sensors, will ship in the spring. The wide to tele capabilities of this lens, which is equivalent to 28 - 300 mm in 35 mm terms, means that you should seldom need to change lenses. The lens, which is just 84mm long, features enhanced peripheral illumination, minimizes peripheral light fall-off and its internal surface coating reduces ghosting and flare. It is compatible with Canon AF, Konica Minolta AF-D, Nikon AF-D and Pentax AF mounts.
PNY high speed Optima CompactFlash and SD cards
PMA 2005: PNY Technologies has announced new Optima CompactFlash and Optima Secure Digital (SD) cards that can read/write digital data at speeds of 12MB/10MB per sec (80X/66X) and 10MB/8MB per sec (60X/58X), respectively. Optima CompactFlash cards are available in capacities up to 4GB priced $499.99; the largest Optima SD card available is 1GB which will cost $99.99. The Optima range will be available in the second quarter.
Nikon posts D2H firmware v2.01 and WT-1 firmware v1.10
Nikon has today posted firmware version 2.01 for its D2H SLR which fixes a number of problems. The problem of the D2H freezing with uninterrupted navigation between a number of photographs while playback zoom was activated has been corrected. Other bugs that have been rectified include saving the WT-1 settings when it was connected to the camera, plus incorrect character displays in Spanish, Chinese and German menus. There is also an new update for the WT-1 wireless transmitter which adds support for the D2X and D2Hs. See release notes for a full list of changes.
PMA 2005: Kodak has announced a new website for the ImageLink Print system, which is designed to simplify at-home printing. The system is supported by Kodak, Konica Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Ricoh and Sanyo and will mean that images taken with these manufacturers' cameras can be printed just by pressing one button when the devices are docked in compatible 'snapshot' printers., which will go live in March, will have links to compatible cameras and printers, a frequently asked questions section and news related to the specification.
Lexar Platinum Series new speed rating
PMA 2005: Lexar has expanded its Platinum Series cards to include Memory Stick Pro and Secure Digital flash media. The full range of cards, which Lexar says is ideal for digital cameras that capture video and stills, are also now speed rated at 40X, equivalent to a sustained read/write speed of 6MB per second. Lexar Platinum cards are available in capacities of 256 MB, 512MB and 1GB.
February 20
Corel RawShooter essentials 2005
PMA 2005: Corel has announced a 30-day free trial of its new software RawShooter essentials 2005, which allows users to automatically import and batch process RAW files. Raw Shooter works with Paint Shop Pro, Paint Shop Pro Studio, Paint Shop Photo Album, and Photo-Paint. During the RAW conversion process image adjustments such as color and exposure correction, sharpening and noise suppression can be made. The result is TIFF or JPEG files which can be opened in Corel software.
Sony 1GB and 2GB Memory Stick PRO Duo
PMA 2005: Sony has today announced Memory Stick PRO Duo (High Speed) in 1GB and 2GB capacities. They are one third the size and half the weight of full-size Memory Stick media, and all MS Duo media ship with an adapter that is compatible with devices that have Memory Stick slots. The 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo media is designed to support transfer speeds of up to 80 Mbps which varies with supporting hardware.
Lexar launches website for digital photographers
PMA 2005: Lexar Media has launched a new website aimed at digital photographers. has tutorials on how to get the best from Lexar products, information on photography techniques, product and services. It also will also feature professional who use Lexar products.
Lexar announces Professional Memory Stick PRO and SD card
PMA 2005: Lexar Media has today announced that it is expanding its line up of Professional cards to include Memory Stick PRO, speed rated at 80X and and SD, speed rated at 60X. The speed of the Professional Memory Stick PRO is the equivalents to a minimum sustained read and write speeds of 12MB per second. It will ship later this month in capacities of 512MB and 1GB.
Kodak EasyShare Z7590 and Easyshare Z730

PMA 2005: Kodak has today announced two new five megapixel additions to the Z-series, which include the 10x zoom EasyShare Z7590 and EasyShare Z730. The SLR-like Z7590 offers manual and automatic exposure and features a Schneider-Kreuznach Variogon 10x optical zoom lens (38 – 380 mm equiv). The second zoom lens compact offers a 4x optical zoom (33-132 mm equiv), a 2.2-inch LCD and is powered by a lithium battery. Both available in May, the Z7590 will cost £349.99 (approx $546) and Z730 will cost £199.99 (approx $312).

Kodak EasyShare C300 and C340
PMA 2005: Kodak has today announced two new C-series cameras; the EasyShare C340, which has a five megapixel resolution, and the EasyShare C300, which boasts 3 million pixels. The C340 sports a 3x optical zoom and features a new on-camera cropping function plus automatic picture orientation. It will be priced £179.99 ($250) and will ship in May. The fixed focus C300 is an affordable model for those wanting 'to explore digital photography'. It will cost £79.99 ($100) and will also ship in May.
PMA 2005: The specification for the Picture Archiving and Sharing Standard (PASS), first announced at Photokina last year by Kodak, Fujifilm and Konica Minolta, has now been finalized. PASS is designed to allow users to share digital files saved onto CD or DVD in years to come without incompatibility issues. The three manufacturers will first implement the new standards, utilizing them on their existing photo CD products beginning this year.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H1
PMA 2005: Sony has today announced the SLR-like Cyber-shot DSC-H1, which offers a massive 12x zoom and image stabilization to cope with camera shake at the long end. The manual H1 offers a 5.1 million pixels, a 2.5-inch LCD, 640 x 480 @ 30 fps movie mode limited only by the capacity of the Memory Stick (PRO) in use. It will ship in June and will cost around $500 (£400).
Canon EOS 350D samples gallery
Yesterday we ran out and briefly snapped a few shots with our pre-production Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT). I've now managed to put these together into a samples gallery of twenty images from this camera. Apologies that they don't have our normal variety but we only had a limited amount of time and have been extremely busy preparing for the PMA 2005 show which starts today.
February 19
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5 and DSC-W7
PMA 2005: Sony has today announced both the DSC-W5 and new seven megapixel DSC-W7. We heard about the DSC-W5 a few weeks ago but has been confirmed in this announcement alongside the seven megapixel version of the camera. Both offer a standard 3x optical zoom (38 -114 mm), 6cm macro mode and are compatible with conversion lenses. Storage media is Memory Stick / Memory Stick PRO and both come with a 32 MB internal memory which will allow you to store all of nine fine quality images on the W7. The Cyber-shot W7 will ship throughout Europe at the end of March and will cost around £330 (approx $515).
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S60 and DSC-S90
Pre-PMA 2005: In Sony's second announcement of the day comes two near-identical four million pixel cameras. The only difference between the Cyber-shot DSC-S60 and the Cyber-shot DSC-S90 (pictured) appears to be that the latter has a 2.5-inch LCD, while the S60 has a 2.0-inch LCD and is very slightly lighter. Other than that there is little to distinguish between the pair. They both sport 3x zoom lenses (39 - 117 mm equiv), offer seven scene modes, are PictBridge-compatible and have a 32 MB internal memory. The S60 and S90 will be available in mid March priced $250 and $300 respectively.
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S40
PMA 2005: Sony has today announced the first of three four million pixel cameras in the shape of the Cyber-shot DSC-S40. Design-wise the S40 takes on the long lines seen in the U-series cameras but is offering more functionality and a slightly larger 1.5-inch LCD. The S40 is aimed clearly at the entry level user and features include MPEG movie mode, a top shutter speed of 1/2000 sec, down to 30 seconds in manual mode, as well as a quite generous (for most manufacturers) 32 MB internal memory.
SanDisk Ultra II SD PLUS
PMA 2005: SanDisk has today previewed the Ultra II SD PLUS card, which converts into a USB 2.0 flash drive. The product, which was first announced at CES in January, does away with the need for card readers; the bottom half of the card flips back using hinges and you can simply plug it in your USB port and download your images. There is also an LED that blinks when data transfer is taking place. The card will start shipping in April and will be available in capacities of 512MB and 1GB, with suggested retail prices of $109.99 and $149.99 respectively.
dpreview at PMA 2005
PMA 2005: It's the day before the 2005 Photo Marketing Association Show opens, the dpreview team arrived last night and we're now ready to bring you our live 'from the show floor' reporting as we did at PMA and Photokina 2004. Live updates will appear both on the front page and the Show Report page. There are going to be several more product announcements today and tomorrow so stay tuned for all that's new from PMA 2005.